Sunday, October 25, 2009

Some of Tim's Stories - S.E. Hinton

Growing up, The Outsiders was one of my favorite books. Like so many other kids, I just read it over and over. I also watched the movie over and over. Along with To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye, I felt like it captured so much of what it felt like to be a kid in a world that you didn't have very much control over. In middle school, I read Hinton's other novels, but never quite felt the same way about them. Then a couple years ago, I came across this collection of short stories by Hinton (published in 2007), and I hoped I would be able to get some of that magic back. It took me awhile to get around to reading them - I've had this problem before - so eager to check something out, but so afraid it won't live up to my hopes. Some of Tim's Stories is a collection of 14 stories about cousins Terry and Mike. When they lose their fathers in a car accident, the cousins become like brothers, but Mike endures a horrible step-father, Terry finds his way to prison. The stories are filled with overwhelming feelings of loss - the loss of a parent certainly, but more strongly, the loss of a future that could have been. They are also filled with a deep sense of guilt - of living while others die and of being free while others are locked up. As often happens when authors write many short stories about the same characters, I wish Hinton had just written a novel about the lives of the two boys. The stories themselves feel incomplete, though the frustration I felt while reading them may have been the intended result of learning about pepole whose lives are themselves frustrated. The second half of the book contains interviews with Hinton about her writing, the success of The Outsiders, her experience in film, and her writing process. The interviews provided an interesting glimpse into Hinton's mind - and how she has made the transition from a teenage success (she was only 16 when she wrote The Outsiders) to an adult author. Some of Tim's Stories did not live up to my expectations. I read through the stories quickly, and after just a day none of them have really stayed with me. But, going back to Hinton was a good reminder to me of how special it is when you do find that book that stays with you forever. Even if I couldn't get the same feeling again from the same author, I'm sure it'll come back to me soon from someone new.

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